A total of 42 bodies were retrieved on Wednesday after a boat carrying migrants sank off Egypt, an Egyptian official told dpa.

"Some 35 were rescued while six others were injured and are currently in stable condition," said the official spokesman to the Health Ministry, Khaled Megahed.

The state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported online that 154 were rescued.

The incident took place off the Egyptian coastal province of Beheira, Egyptian state TV reported without giving details.

The exact number of people the boat had been carrying remained unclear. Egyptian private newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported on its website that the vessel had 300 on board, while Al Ahram said 400.

The search for survivors was said to be ongoing. 

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